Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween!

I just wanted to say Happy Halloween to you all!

I love this holiday! It makes me feel like a kid again to dress up and be something else for a day. And now that I have a little girl, it is so fun to see her get into the fun as well! I hope you all have safe and spooky haunts!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Review GIVE UP THE GHOST by Megan Crewe

by Megan Crewe
Published September 15th 2009 by Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)
Hardcover 244 pages

Placement in the Pile: Reaching New Heights

Cass McKenna much prefers the company of ghosts over "breathers." Ghosts are uncomplicated and dependable, and they know the dirt on everybody... and Cass loves dirt. She's on a mission to expose the dirty secrets of the poseurs in her school.

But when the vice president of the student council discovers her secret, Cass's whole scheme hangs in the balance. Tim wants her to help him contact his recently deceased mother, and Cass reluctantly agrees.

As Cass becomes increasingly entwined in Tim's life, she's surprised to realize he's not so bad--and he needs help more desperately than anyone else suspects. Maybe it's time to give the living another chance...

This was a perfect book to read for Halloween. Cass starts to see ghosts after her sister's death when she was 14. Cass becomes a social outcast even more than she already was, and has learned to stay away from the living. The tale is intense, and sometimes dark as Cass talks about her sister's death, and the death of the ghosts she can talk to.

Tim comes into play and his relationship with Cass is hard, but may just be what both of them need.

I really enjoyed the characters in this story. Cass's experiences were actually very realistic -- even considering the talking to ghosts. The reason for her social outcast was not just the ghosts, and that other heartache and betrayal is very it is something I am sure many dealt with in middle school and/or high school.

Her ability seems to be somewhat "6th Sense" and "Ghost Whisperer"-ish but she has no clue what is beyond, and no one is telling her that she is supposed to help the ghosts. She does know that sometimes they disapear and go to the "beyond" where most people go after death.

The only disclaimer that bothered me about the book, teenager sexual behavior and drug and alcohol use. I will give a hoorah for Cass never participating even though being offered, and the showing of some of the negative consequences for such behaviors. But it occasionally caught me off guard when a sexual term was brought up as every day teenage experience. It isn't a lot, and wasn't a deal breaker for me by any means for this book -- I have read much worse. But I wanted you to know.

This is getting longer than I expected! Overall it's a great read, brings up some good issues and was especially fun for this time of year!

Materials Resource Disclaimer: I got this book from the library. I am not compensated for my reviews.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Review Materials Disclosures

I just wanted to explain why I now have a compensation and source of materials disclaimer at the bottom of every review now.

The FTC in trying to crack down on bloggers who are paid to give good reviews to products. Inadvertently this affects book bloggers who receive materials from publishers and authors for review. Starting December 1st it will be required to discolse if a book was a free material.

For more info check out this link:

My theory is that ARCs as being marked "Not For Sale" are not a compensation for reviewing the material, as they technically have no value. And since I give away all of my ARCs that is also one more thing in my favor. However, I have to put a disclaimer now on the source of my materials and stating that I don't get paid to give a book a good review.

BUT my opinion doesn't matter much. I will disclose when and where books were sent to me by publishers.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Review THE SEASON by Sarah MacLean

by Sarah MacLean
Published March 1st 2009 by Orchard Books
Hardcover 352 Pages -- for now....

Placement in the Pile: Top Picks

Seventeen year old Lady Alexandra is strong-willed and sharp-tongued -- in a house full of older brothers and their friends, she had to learn to hold her own. Not the best makings for an aristocratic lady in Regency London. Yet her mother still dreams of marrying Alex off to someone safe, respectable, and wealthy. But between ball gown fittings, dances, and dinner parties, Alex, along with her two best friends, Ella and Vivi, manages to get herself into what may be her biggest scrape yet.

When the Earl of Blackmoor is mysteriously killed, Alex decides to help his son, the brooding and devilishly handsome Gavin, uncover the truth. But will Alex's heart be stolen in the process? In an adventure brimming with espionage, murder, and other clandestine affairs, who could possibly have time to worry about finding a husband? Romance abounds as this year's season begins!

This book has been out for a while, but I wanted to share why I enjoyed it and also make a bit of an announcement! Sarah MacLean announced on her Facebook page that the paperback of THE SEASON is coming to Scholastic Book Clubs in the spring and bookstores next June! Yay! Paperback releases often boost book sales. So if you haven't already, put this book on your "to buy" list! It is a good one. The cover is the same, but the back snippets are going to be different!

Also I thought it followed the theme of our Jane Austen post from yesterday.

The season is written very well. It takes place in Regency England, but the language of the book is very accessible to modern readers (in fact some readers complain about this some, they say it is too modern -- but I disagree. I think it was a smart move and made for a really enjoyable read.)

The story is truly fun and romantic, the characters are fun. A few characters, once introduced into the book, their part in the plot were a bit predictable, but it works for the genre.

Is there anything better than first love? First kisses? And Regency England? If you love all these things, you'll love THE SEASON!

Source of Materials Disclosure: I purchased this book. I am not compensated for any reviews I give.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Review for PRIDE & PREJUDICE & ZOMBIES by Seth Grahame-Smith

by Seth Grahame-Smith

April 4th 2009 by Quirk Books
Paperback, 317 pages

Placement in the Pile:
Bottom of the Barrel


The Classic Regency Romance-Now with Ultraviolent Zombie Mayhem! "It is a truth universally acknowledged that a zombie in possession of brains must be in want of more brains." So begins Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, an expanded edition of the beloved Jane Austen novel featuring all-new scenes of bone-crunching zombie mayhem. As our story opens, a mysterious plague has fallen upon the quiet English village of Meryton—& the dead are returning to life! Feisty heroine Elizabeth Bennet is determined to wipe out the zombie menace, but she's soon distracted by the arrival of the haughty & arrogant Mr. Darcy. What ensues is a delightful comedy of manners with plenty of civilized sparring between the two young lovers—& even more violent sparring on the blood-soaked battlefield as Elizabeth wages war against hordes of flesh-eating undead. Can she vanquish the spawn of Satan? And overcome the social prejudices of the class-conscious landed gentry? Complete with romance, heartbreak, swordfights, cannibalism & thousands of rotting corpses, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies transforms a masterpiece of world literature into something you'd actually want to read. (goodreads)


Halloween is just around the corner, so here is a book full of gruesome horror - if that's your thing. It's not mine...

I just didn't like this book much at all. There were moments that I laughed at, but overall, it was just too gory and gruesome for me. My friends know what a weak stomach for horror I have, so maybe those of you who like that stuff will enjoy this better than I did! ;-) The writing was witty, and like I said, it did have really funny moments. But it just couldn't override the gross, gross stuff that kept getting described at length and in detail. Blech. It could be an interesting discussion though - especially about the plotlines he changed completely (hello Charlotte and Mr. Collins!). I felt like Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy lost much of their appeal with how bloodthirsty they were. At times it was truly funny, but other times it was just disgusting (like what happens with Wickham).

If you enjoy gore, and gruesome zombie fests, this is the book for you.

Monday, October 26, 2009


One of my goals with the blog is to get more conversation going from the readers, whether you follow or just stop by.


Today I want to ask what is your favorite book that you have read in the last month!

Mine is Graceling. My co-author Guenivere reviewed it HERE if you want to check out that review again. I thought it was a thrilling fantasy with amazing characters. There were only two things that bothered me about the book. I look forward to reading her companion novel FIRE, because Kristin Cashore is extremely talented! My favorite line (well really paragraph) from the book was,

"Katsa didn't think a person should thank her for not causing pain. Causing joy was worthy of thanks, and causing pain worthy of disgust. Causing neither was neither, it was nothing, and nothing didn't warrant thanks." GRACELING pg. 134

How incredible that is! The way Cashore has with words is beautiful.

I look forward to your comments!!!

Friday, October 23, 2009


Sorry it has been so long! But the winner of our ARC giveaway of DEMON PRINCESS: REIGN OR SHINE...



Please e-mail me at with your mailing address and I will get that in the mail as soon as possible!

Thank you to all who have been reading the blog and entered! There'll be more reviews coming shortly! Promise!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

I'm Back!

Hi everyone! Sorry for the brief hiatus but I'm back and ready to get reading and reviewing! I missed the book world while I was away! I was so busy sight-seeing that I didn't get nearly enough writing or reading done. Sigh. But really, I can't complain, I was in GERMANY!

I had such an amazing time in Germany. I love learning about new places and cultures. The Bavarian royal history is quite fascinating. Here are just a few pictures from my trip (cause I know you want to be jealous)!

The Englischer Garten in Munich. Such a beautiful place!

The Park Bench in the Englischer Garten where I tried to read for a while...I only lasted about 15 minutes because it was so cold!

Me in front of an old church. There are tons of them in Munich alone!

Inside a different church. Many of them were late Baroque/Rococo design. So ornate!

In front of Scholl Nymphenburg, a castle complete with huge garden still enclosed in the city.

Me the car model at the BMW museum. This is a 1933. Munich is the central location for BMW manufacturing.

At Mariensplatz, the city center. That gothic building behind me is a governemnt building still used today. It was one of the locations of some of Hitler's big rally's and speeches.

It would be good to be queen of Bavaria!

Me and my cute hubby at the Temple of Diana. Located between Odensplatz and the Englischer Garten.

Sunday we went to a museum of art from the middle ages through the early Baroque. This portait was amazing. The material on the dress looked SO lifelike!

Um did I mention the food was incredible? This is a turkish Dooner. We also had lots of different sausages, saurkraut, potatoes, rotkol, danishes, chocolate yum yum yum!

Monday, our last day we took a train down to Fussen, which is on the border by the Alps and saw two castles. Here we are standing on the grounds of Hohenschwangau castle with Neuschwanstein castle in the background. Neuschwanstein castle is generally called the "cinderella" castle, because it is the one Walt Disney used to design his Disneyland castle. (P.S. the castle is there in the background, its just hard to see against the snow on the mountain...if you click on the image you can see it better!)

That is about the shortest summary I can give you! I loved every minute of it.

Thanks for indulging in this bit of personal travels and back on to books!

Sunday, October 18, 2009


Guten Tag!

I am having a blast in Germany! I just wanted you all to know that I didn't forget that the deadline for our contest has come and gone, I will get the random winner from and post the results after I get back! Just a few more days!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Review DREAMING ANASTASIA: A Novel of Love Magic and the Power of Dreams by Joy Preble

DREAMING ANASTASIA: A Novel of Love, Magic and the Power of Dreams
by Joy Preble
Published September 1st 2009 by Sourcebooks Jabberwocky
Paperback, 320 pages

Placement in the Pile: Reaching New Heights inching towards Top Picks

Sixteen year old Anne thinks her life is pretty ordinary – until she smacks into handsome, mysterious, and okay, annoying Ethan on her way to chemistry class. Now Anne has powers she doesn’t understand, a history altering mission she may not want, and a growing attraction to this blue-eyed stranger. And Ethan- who at eighteen made some choices he’s starting to regret – realizes that Anne is the girl for whom he’s been searching – for a very, very long time. Stir in doomed Russian Grand Duchess Anastasia – who is definitely not quite as dead as the history books say – and Baba Yaga, the legendary witch from Russian folklore, and you’ve got DREAMING ANASTASIA, a contemporary YA fantasy that alternates between the voices of Anne, Ethan, and Anastasia as Anne and Ethan join forces to battle the bad guys and save Anastasia. Only problem is – no one’s quite sure who’s really bad and who’s good. And everyone has some secrets.

All I had to do was read the title of this book to know I was interested, not to mention I thought the cover was pretty, and lets face it, I like pretty covers. I have always enjoyed stories of the Romanovs, especially Anastasia. One of my favorite cartoon movies is Anastasia. I know, kind of corny, but I love it! The premise sounded so interesting to me, that a modern girl was connected to Anastasia in some way, with a mysterious guy who has been searching for her. It was all right up my ally -- and I was NOT disappointed.

The writing was smooth, the story flowed well, and the plot was very interesting. It combined Russian history, fairy tale lore and Rasputin style magic. The book switches from different points of view -- Anastasia, Anne and Ethan -- and they were all written well and the voices were individual enough that it was easy to know which one I was reading.

Honestly my biggest complaint about this book was the font they chose for some letter/journal type entries that Anastasia writes to her family. I don't like cursive to begin with, and then it was messy and over-flowy at the same time. It took me a while to get used to it.

It is very clean so you don't need to worry about content. The romance was believable, the history intriguing. Anne is a great character -- so true to life! She doesn't take all of this paranormal stuff without questioning it, and I love that about her. Too often in Paranormal YA lit the character is just like oh, cool magic (or vampires, or werewolves, or wizards fill in the blank) are real and I'm just going to accept that with not questioning it at all.

In the end I liken this book to a YA version of The Historian with it's basis in Romanov Russian lore rather than Dracula. Definitely a good read!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Gone Writing!

Okay, I am not actually gone just because I am planing on doing some writing, but I am on vacation in Germany!!! So, I have pre-written a review or two while I am gone, other than that my co-author SaraJ is in charge!

Sometimes writers (I don't dare call myself an author cause 1-I'm not published and 2- I am still working on my first book!) need to take time to focus on just that -- writing. What a better place to write than in Europe while my hubby is in his conference for the first few days? So I may not be reading much these next few weeks either (other than on our LONG plane trips when my laptop battery has died!

So I hope you all have a great next week and a half, I will be back on the 21st (but I will be so jet lagged it may be another day or so before I get back into blogging too!) Enjoy Sara's posts! I will check in when I can!

Saturday, October 10, 2009


Don't forget to enter our current giveaway! I like to share my ARCs with you so that more of you can enjoy these great books that I receive from the publishers! Just click on the link in the sidebar for details!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Review for GRACELING by Kristin Cashore


by Kristin Cashore


January 22nd 2009 (first published 2008) by Gollancz
Hardcover, 352 pages

Placement in the Pile:

Top Picks


Katsa has been able to kill a man with her bare hands since she was eight; she's a Graceling, one of the rare people in her land born with an extreme skill. As niece of the king, she should be able to live a life of privilege, but Graced as she is with killing, she is forced to work as the king's thug. She never expects to fall in love with beautiful Prince Po. She never expects to learn the truth behind her Grace--or the terrible secret that lies hidden far away. . .a secret that could destroy all seven kingdoms with words alone. With elegant, evocative prose and a cast of unforgettable characters, debut author Kristin Cashore creates a mesmerizing world, a death-defying adventure, and a heart-racing romance that will consume you, hold you captive, and leave you wanting more. (Goodreads)


I loved this book. Katsa and Po are such great, strong characters, and I loved their story. (though why did she have to name him Po?) Po is just amazing, (despite his name, ha ha!) I totally am in love with him. It is a sweeping ride, from the beginning to the conclusion (although I am hoping for more). The writing is moving and emotional. I don't want to give any spoilers, so just go read it!

It would be rated borderline PG-13/R for the violence and some sexual content, but it wasn't too over the top, considering her grace is killing - and she is very good at it.

The "prequel-ish" book FIRE was just published on September 24th, and I am interested to read it. It is not a true prequel, it involves a different world from what I can tell, but there is one crossover character. I do hope we will get more of Katsa and Po soon. There is a book called BITTERBLUE on goodreads, but there is no information on it yet, so I'm not sure if it is a true sequel or not. (Bitterblue is a secondary character in GRACELING)

It is definitely worth the read!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Book Signing with James Dashner!

I was lucky enough to go to James Dashner's book signing and launch party on Tuesday for THE MAZE RUNNER! If you missed it my review of THE MAZE RUNNER can be seen HERE. THE MAZE RUNNER was released Tuesday so go support this great author by buying his book!

In attendance there were some really great authors and other friends in the book world. Sometimes I feel so inadequate by being around all of them because I am kind of on the outskirts. BUT they recognize me, and hey, every author needs readers right? And maybe someday if I ever finish my book I'll be one of them...but I digress! (More on that topic another day!)

James spoke to the crowd about his journey to become an author and the story of how THE MAZE RUNNER came to be-- a speech embedded with his great sense of humor, of course!

For example he said "I studied to be an accountant because I figured I needed a job one day." Well his dislike for accounting led him to writing, and boy are we all glad for that!

THE MAZE RUNNER itself has been about a four year project for James. With lots of revisions and a couple of different agents representing him until he found the right fit and sold it to Random House. So you can see how long it really takes to get a book out, it has been a year and three months since Random House picked up the manuscript for MAZE to its publication! Books truly are a labor of love.

James confirmed that MAZE RUNNER will be a trilogy and the titles for the subsequent two books will be THE SCORCH TRIALS and THE DEATH CURSE. Each to come out in one year increments. (James has already finished and is working on revisions for THE SCORCH TRIALS).

He called THE MAZE RUNNER "A little glimpse into my dark and twisted mind." And what a fun ride it is!

James read a section of THE MAZE RUNNER where Thomas (the main character) is is taken by Newt, a Glader, to the wall at night to look through a tiny window to see the horrors that await inside the maze....the greivers.

Then James took some audience questions. It was fun to see some of the younger crowd who is his fan base from his Middle Grade novels THE THIRTEENTH REALITY. I wish I could go on and on and report everything he said, but I will just pick a few of my favorites.

I asked him what the trilogy title was going to be and his response was that his publisher has been kind of copying what THE HUNGER GAMES publisher is doing (hey, it's the same genre and if it worked...) So it is just The Maze Runner Trilogy. As well if you remember the end of HUNGER GAMES it says "End of Book One" does THE MAZE RUNNER! (He says all of this with a laugh).

My other favorite question was "What does a typical day look like for you?" Besides giving us too much detail about his morning routine. He said he blogs, twitters and answers e-mails in the morning, takes "really long breaks" in the middle of the day, that may or may not include a movie and/or a nap (movies inspire him to write) and then writes in the evenings.

He was also asked "How many times have you been rejected?". In pure James Dashner fashion he said "If you are including High School girls then I'd say about 1000, but if you don't and you only count book query rejections about 30-35."

Then I got my book signed and had a chance to say hi (he knew who I struck again!) mingled a bit with some of the other authors and headed home! It was a great night and very entertaining.

For James' tour schedule go to his website HERE and check to see if he will be near you! If he is, it is worth it! Be sure to see him!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009


I know lots of blogs out there are doing giveaways of DEMON PRINCESS: Reign or Shine! right now, but I have my ARC that I would like to share with one of my lucky readers as well! So...

To enter:

1) Comment with if you had a paranormal ability what would you want it to be? Some examples: Would you want to be half demon and able to use your powers for good? Would you want to be eternally young and a vampire? Would you want some other simpler power like being able to talk to spirits or predict the future?

2) Old followers get two extra entries, new followers get one extra entry.

Good luck! I look forward to these comments!!!

The contest will be open until 11:59 PM EST on October 17th! So spread the word too!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Review DEMON PRINCESS : REIGN OR SHINE by Michelle Rowan

by Michelle Rowan
Published September 29th 2009 by Walker Books for Young Readers
Hardcover, 288 pages

Placement in the Pile: Middle of the Stack inching towards Reaching New Heights

As if trying to fit in at a new school isn't stressful enough, sixteen-year-old Nikki Donovan just found out that her long-lost father is, in fact, the demon king of the Shadowlands—the world that separates and protects us from the Underworld. When she is brought there by the mysterious—and surprisingly cute—messenger Michael, she learns that her father is dying, and he wants her to assume the throne. To complicate matters, a war is brewing between the Shadowlands and the Underworld, her half-demon qualities are manifesting, and her gowing feelings for Michael are completely forbidden. Ruling a kingdom, navigating a secret crush, and still making it home by curfew—what's a teenage demon princess to do?

When I got this book I thought it sounded like something fun to read and review in October. I wasn't super excited about it, but I still was interested in reading it.

One night I had finished the current book I was reading and I was up with insomnia. I picked this up off my shelf and really enjoyed the quirky Nikki and how realistic she was. Michelle's writing is smooth and easy to read and the pages flew by as I was immersed in Nikki's world. I laughed out loud, I swooned at the mysterious, dark haired brooding hot guy, and in the end fell in love with the characters.

I enjoyed the demon/fairy lore in this book and look forward to finding out more about this world and its creatures as the series continues. Yes folks it's a series, but don't let that stop you if it normally does. I think Michelle plans on making this one of those many book series and this book really does finish enough in and of itself that it is worth reading now.

I didn't feel like it was a life altering book, but it was a really really fun read and I am excited to delve into Rowan's demon world to see what Nikki does in the future.

If you liked books like Tattoo or Vamped or want just a fun "monster" book to read with good clean fun and a little demon magic thrown in there this is a good book for you!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Happy October!

Hi all!

(image source)

Okay so this picture has nothing to do with books, but I thought it was beautiful!

Fall is here, Halloween is on it's way and it's time for a few months of craziness, holidays and fun. Halloween always makes me want to pick up my favorite paranormal books and enjoy the fantasy world of vampires, werewolves, wizards and other Halloween-ish type things.

Just for fun, I thought it would be fun to take down everyone's top 3 favorite monster/paranormal books in the comments section here and then compile who voted for what! We'll make our own pile of paranormal books!

Happy commenting and October!

Saturday, October 3, 2009


The winner of the two ARCs THE MAZE RUNNER by James Dashner (signed) and GIRL IN THE ARENA by Lise Haines is...

Suzanne Young!

Please e-mail me at with you mailing info!

Thank you so much to everyone who entered and blogged about this giveaway! I was really excited about it too! Until next time!

Friday, October 2, 2009

Review JUST ONE WISH by Janette Rallison

JUST ONE WISH by Janette Rallison (who else?)
Published March 5th 2009 by Putnam Juvenile
Hardcover, 272 pages

Placement in the Pile: Top Picks

Summary: Seventeen-year-old Annika Truman knows about the power of positive thinking. With a little brother who has cancer, it’s all she ever hears about. And in order to help Jeremy, she will go to the ends of the earth (or at least as far as Hollywood) to help him believe he can survive his upcoming surgery.

But Annika’s plan to convince Jeremy that a magic genie will grant him any wish throws her a curveball when he unexpectedly wishes that his television idol would visit him. Annika suddenly fi nds herself in the desperate predicament of getting access to a hunky star actor and convincing him to come home with her. Piece of cake, right?

Janette Rallison’s proven talent for laugh-out-loud humor, teen romance, and deep-hearted storytelling shines in a novel that will have readers laughing and crying at the same time. (GoodReads)

Review: I absolutely adore this book. There are so many amazing things going on within its pages. It has Janette's wonderful sense of humor, great realistic teenage characters, the dashing young man that has to learn to get over his faults in order to woo the girl, and more heart than any other romantic comedy YA book I have ever read.

Annika's story was so touching to me at this time in my life because I can relate so deeply to her feelings of having someone in her family have cancer. A cancer that seems to be winning regardless of Annika's determination that it isn't.

Janette writes this story with an expert hand. In talking to her about this book, she told me that her mother died from cancer when she was still very young. This wrenched my heart as I have just lost my father to his 6 year battle with cancer. Because of this, and dealing with friends, a teacher, and a young daughter of one of my Youth Group leaders in High School contracting cancer and seeing their fight I think this is a must read.

Anyone who has anyone in their life who has been touched by cancer will adore Annika's desire to do anything to make her brother's life better...and will fall in love with the dashing young Robin Hood. To date this is my favorite Janette Rallison book!

I hope you all enjoyed Janette Rallison week! A big thanks to Janette for being an amazing person and author and supporting me in my writing and my blog. You are the best! Tomorrow be sure to check in for our current contest winner announcement!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Banned Books Week

I didn't want my readers to get through this week without knowing that it is banned books week. There have been times when people try to ban books from being accessible to the public.

Although I believe in people choosing what is appropriate for themselves and their children, I think that it is a slippery slope when we disallow books to be read at all. It makes me think of times in history when books and other priceless artifacts have been destroyed in the name of political propaganda.

My favorite book of all-time To Kill A Mockingbird has often been on banned books lists. And to me that is so so sad.

Here is a quote from that great book. "They're certainly entitled to think that, and they're entitled to full respect for their opinions... but before I can live with other folks I've got to live with myself. The one thing that doesn't abide by majority rule is a person's conscience." ~Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird, Chapter 11, spoken by the character Atticus

Take some time this week to look at some of the conversations about banned books on the internet, and think about what you would do if someone told you that you couldn't read your favorite book in your own home.

Author Interview: Janette Rallison

I thought you might be done reading what we have to say about the fabulous I thought I'd let Janette say something about herself! She was gracious enough to take time out of her current writing schedule in order to answer some questions for our readers! Enjoy!

Q: How old were you when you started writing?
JR: I've been writing since I was old enough to hold a pencil and misspell my way through a story. (My plots have improved even if my spelling hasn't.) I have notebooks and computer files full of my early writing. I tended to get 70% of the way through a story and then start something else, which is not the best way to go about getting published. I finally got serious about my writing in my late twenties. My first book was published when I was thirty.

Q: And what was your very first book about?
JR: My first book was a young adult romantic comedy for the LDS market called Deep Blue Eyes and Other Lies. It's the prequel to All's Fair in Love, War, and High School which was published in the national market. Like a lot of my books, it's about love, friendship, and those way-too-many awkward moments that plague teenagers.

Q: Have you ever been star struck by another author? If so, who was it?
JR: Jane Austen. I was so excited to tour her house in England. I have a picture of me sitting at the table she wrote at. Sometimes when I'm at home writing, the oddness of canonizing authors strikes me, and I try to imagine some futuristic tour guide showing tourists around my house:

"This is where Janette typed, kept stacks of research, and basically ignored the laundry."

The crowd lets out a simultaneous, "Ohhh!" and snaps dozens of pictures.

Q: What inspires your stories?
JR: My distaste of housework. When I can clean the kitchen or write, I always write. I also take ideas from my own life and from my kids. Kids are just a neverending supply of story ideas.

Q: Your novels have a lot of humor. Why do you think humor is important?
JR: Researches have done multiple studies that prove humor not only makes you feel better, it makes you healthier. It lowers blood pressure and increases your T-cell function. It increases your memory too.

But besides that, if people don't learn to laugh at themselves and their problems, they'll be miserable. Bad situations can often be turned around if you just apply a little humor.

Q: If you had to become one of your characters, who would you pick?
JR: Good question. (I'm suddenly wondering why I haven't given any of my characters magical powers, because then it would be an easy choice.) I love Annika from Just One Wish because she's so focused, smart, and goes for whatever she wants--but she has a little brother with cancer, and I wouldn't want that. It would be cool to be Savannah from My Fair Godmother and get to have adventures in the Middle Ages, but when it comes right down to it, I like indoor plumbing and electricity more than adventure. Probably I'd choose to be Alexia in My Double Life because she gets to go to Hollywood and hang out with famous people including her hot rock star boyfriend. Look for that book next May.

Q: Do you re-read your books once they've been published?
JR: I don't plan to reread them. By the time they come out I'm sick of them. But usually a few years later I'll be flipping through one of my books looking for some paragraph to use for a writing workshop and I end up reading the whole book. I'm always surprised that I like the book again.

Q: What are your top five favorite YA books (other than your own, of course)?
JR: Not in any particular order:
The Princess Bride
Hunger Games (note from Aubrey: one of my faves too!)
The Doomsday Book
The Phantom Tollbooth
Lord of the Rings

Q: What is your favorite food?
JR: Chocolate, which I could gladly live on. Bacon is a close second with guacamole coming in third.

Love it! Thanks so much Janette. I am excited to read more of your stuff! Good luck on your current project! And here's to hoping your male protagonist looks like Ben. ;)